Common Myths & Concerns

The mattress industry is one which lacks clarity, transparency and honesty. There, we said it. The tricks that are used by stores coupled with the common myths and concerns make for a very frustrating shopping experience for many consumers. The goal with this page is to talk a little bit about some of the most common concerns surrounding our industry.

The store told me I have to buy a mattress pad to validate my warranty.

Something we hear on an almost daily basis is that a particular retailer or salesperson told the customer they have to buy the store's mattress pad or waterproof protector to validate the factory warranty on the mattress. This is entirely false. Think about buying a new car. The car dealership cannot stipulate that your maintenance must be performed at their facility to maintain warranty. A mattress warranty is no different.

Note: A mattress store may, however, require you to purchase their mattress pad to validate a trial period.

A mattress pad should be purchased for the right reasons. This is the layer which is tasked with keeping your sleep environment clean and healthy. It is not a mechanism of ensuring product performance, which is why it cannot be tied to warranty. The challenge arises from the wording in most mattress warranties which states that if the mattress is found in unsanitary conditions that the manufacturer reserves the right to void the warranty. This is simply a case of salespeople either unintentionally (or intentionally) misinterpreting or misrepresenting this wording.

I'm worried about buying a used bedding product.

We're worried, too! Did you know that here in Canada a retailer is not legally required to disclose whether the item they're selling you is new or used? A mattress store could, in theory, take a mattress back from one customer on a trial period and then deliver that same mattress to another customer, and not have to disclose this.

The Mattress & Sleep Company is committed to ensuring peace of mind. We do not accept returns on mattresses, with the exception of queen or king sized Tempur-Pedic branded mattresses. And, in the case of Tempur-Pedic, we promise to disclose when we possess a mattress returned under our trial period. This happens approximately once or twice per year, and when it does, the discount we offer on these mattresses is significant.

What is natural memory foam?

There are two categories of "natural memory foam"

Slow-response latex
One variety of natural memory foam is actually a slow-response latex foam aggressively marketed as "natural." This slow responding latex foam contains additional chemical additives needed to inhibit the slower, "memory foam" type of responsiveness. This material does contain some natural content; however it still contains styrene and butadiene. These two chemicals are both volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and as such we feel it is inappropriate to market this foam as "natural memory foam." One must simply read the ingredients list to verify these two VOC's are present in this "natural memory foam."

On July 25, 2013 the Federal Trade Commission in the United States barred three different companies from advertising mattresses as free from VOC's. View the report here.

Plant-based foam
Some polyurethane foams incorporate plant alcohol in the chemical mixture. These sources can be soy beans, caster beans, tea tree, aloe and many others. As we touched on earlier, it is important to remember that these polyols can only be a very small percentage of the finished product. Although marketed as natural, we feel this is inappropriate. The Mattress & Sleep Company simply labels these foams as "Plant-based foam" to denote that in the products we offer with this material, a portion of the polyol has been supplanted by a plant-based alcohol.

The only truly natural foam available today is 100% natural rubber tree latex. Even then, many "natural latex" products are actually blended with styrene and butadiene. Two excellent examples of natural latex foam free of styrene and butadiene are Green Sleep and Sleeptek, both of which only utilize natural rubber in all models.

When in doubt, always ask for the Eco Institut certification. Eco Institut is a well respected German organization which has the ability to test samples of foam for VOC's, including styrene and butadiene. If either of these compounds are contained in the foam sample, even in trace amounts, the foam sample will simply fail the test and will not receive certification. Green Sleep and Sleeptek/Obasan have obtained full Eco Institut certification.

The more coils, the better!

Although coil count is a consideration one might have when choosing a new mattress, it should not be used as the tie-breaker between two different models. There are a number of different factors that contribute to the comfort, support and durability offered by a particular innerspring.

Innerspring (coil) design, gauge (thickness) of wire, number of turns, metal composition, tempering, and so on, all contribute to the potential of a particular innerspring.

Also keep in mind that as the coil count increases, the diameter of each individual coil will decrease. You still have to fit all of those springs in the same amount of space!

In short, more coils does not always equal more support. More steel means more support. It may seem rudimentary but when comparing two beds of roughly equivalent thickness, the mattress which is heavier is almost always the higher performing mattress due to either increased steel content and/or higher quality upholstery

One last important note to consider; some of the worlds best mattresses contain absolutely no coil system at all.

I think that I'm allergic to latex.

Although latex allergies are cause for concern, the type of latex foam used in mattresses and pillows is incredibly safe. Latex is a touch allergy, which means you have to come in direct contact with it to have a reaction. All of the natural latex products we offer are covered, ensuring no direct contact.

Latex proteins, which are harmless and benign to most people, cause allergic reactions to a very small percentage of the population. Proteins migrate to the surface of products like gloves and condoms and attach to powders and lubricants added during manufacturing. When the glove comes out of the package, the powder becomes airborne and enters through your respiratory system and pores.

Latex mattresses are manufactured differently than most latex products though.

  • Mattresses are washed thoroughly during manufacturing
  • Neither powder nor lubrication is added
  • You never touch latex when you sleep on a latex mattress

All of the natural latex products we offer are covered, ensuring no direct contact. We have had many success stories where our clients were sensitive to latex medical gloves and subsequently purchased and happily recommend their latex mattress, free of any symptoms.

We offer a free test kit to anyone who is interested in buying a latex mattress and is worried that they would have a reaction. Simply call us Toll-Free on 1-877-750-1212 and we'll send out a free kit including our natural rubber and our wool.

The Mattress & Sleep Company also offers a unique buy-back programme on all natural latex products we sell. In the highly unlikely event of a documented medical reaction, The Mattress & Sleep Company will issue a full refund on the purchase price of any natural latex products proven to cause an allergic reaction.

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I think that I'm allergic to wool.

Lanolin (wool), has long had the reputation of causing allergic reactions. Although wool allergies do exist, a legitimate wool allergy is exceedingly rare. The vast majority of people actually fall under the "wool sensitivity" category. This is due to how most mass produced wool products are treated with harsh chemicals and cleaning agents. Pure, virgin wool is an exceptionally safe choice for almost anyone. Even those who cannot wear a wool clothing article are almost always perfectly fine on a mattress with properly harvested wool. An even safer choice would be certified organic wool.

Organic wool is collected from sheep or alpaca which graze on land completely free of herbicides, pesticides, harmful fertilizers, etc. The animals are also organically fed. The wool is collected according to strict guidelines in regards to the length of their hair. In general terms, for every 4 lbs. of organically grown wool, we save one acre of land from harmful substances.

Mass produced wool typically goes through a process called ‘carbonization’. This is essentially dipping the wool in acid to dissolve residual vegetable matter (straw, grass) that is not removed through the regular carding process. This process lowers the PH value of the wool significantly and strips it of most lanolin grease. Because of the lowered PH value this is why many people believe they are allergic to sheep’s wool when in reality they have a skin sensitivity. Because organic wool does not go through this process and is simply washed in vegetable based soaps and hot water the PH value of the wool is a lot more friendly, as well as maintaining a much higher level of lanolin. Lanolin is a very beneficial product to have in wool so long as people are not allergic to lanolin itself, it is what provides moisture repellence to the wool fleece as well as rendering it immune to dust mites. Organic wool is the more functional and healthier choice.

We offer a free test kit to anyone who is interested in buying a wool-filled product and is worried that they would have a reaction. Simply call us Toll-Free on 1-877-750-1212 and we'll send out a free kit including our natural rubber and our wool.

If you are still unsure about the possibilities of allergic reactions to wool, please consider mulberry silk as an alternative. Mulberry silk shares many of the same health benefits of wool.

Firm is better for back support.

A common belief states that a firm (or hard) mattress is required for proper support. The truth is that how the mattress conforms to the shape of your body, is far more important. A properly supporting mattress will allow for you to sink into the top comfort layers, cradled by conformance. So let us examine both the hard mattress and the soft mattress independently.

First we must always keep in mind that the human body consists of curves, and some body parts/regions are heavier than others. We must also keep in the mind that although we commonly say we want our spine to be ‘straight’ the spinal cord itself is not actually straight, it is shaped like an ‘S’.

A hard mattress is inflexible and unable to ‘follow’ the curves of the body. This leads to both the curvy body parts and the lighter weight areas not being fully supported. If the body is not fully supported, it cannot rest. A hard mattress tries to straighten the body due to the human body being more flexible than the mattress itself. This may lead to uncomfortable sleep and damage the body over time. A hard mattress can decrease blood flow to our extremities, increasing blood pressure and stressing our circulatory system. This can also cause the pins and needles sensation in our extremities as well. These conditions all fragment our sleep, not allowing us to rest as deeply as possible.

A mattress which is too soft is every bit as inappropriate as a firm mattress. A soft mattress will bend and be flexible however it is not supportive. This is particularly true of mass produced pillowtop beds with low density polyurethane foam. These soft mattresses work like a hammock and can cause various problems including scoliosis (curvature of the lower spine) , and kyphosis (curvature of the upper spine, hunchback syndrome). These mattresses sink in where weight is the greatest, usually in the hips, moving our centre of gravity to an unnatural position. All body parts now move towards the heaviest point, abandoning the bodies natural posture.

There are other major issues with defining a mattress as hard or soft; these are unscientific and subjective measurements. For example one mattress may feel ‘soft’ to an individual that weighs 200 lbs, the same mattress may be perceived as firm or hard to someone who weighs 100 lbs. So then what is the correct answer for selecting a mattress?

In contrast to the hard mattress or the soft mattress; the elastic mattress is the most appropriate solution. Unlike "soft" or "firm" elasticity can be objectively measured. Some materials are simply much more elastic than others. An elastic mattresses will support the body fully by allowing your body to sink into the mattress. Unlike a soft mattress which hammocks and your body sinks into the mattress mostly in the hip region, an elastic mattress provides even support from head to toe by allowing the body to sink evenly. An elastic mattress provides both proper natural posture (alignment) as well as pressure relief reducing tossing and turning by reducing the blood-flow related issues associated with a hard mattress. This allows the body to rest fully and alleviate the caveats presented by a hard or soft mattress. At the Mattress & Sleep Company we pay careful consideration to the elasticity of the mattresses we offer. Natural rubber is the most elastic upholstery material available. As an alternative to natural rubber, Tempur-Pedic uses a proprietary visco-elastic foam (TEMPUR®) which is far more elastic than regular polyurethane foams which are very brittle and inflexible by comparison.

I'd like my mattress to be at a certain height.

You'll notice that on nearly every mattress product page, we've provided height measurements. Typically we're able to accommodate almost any height requirement you may have. Often times bed frames and foundations (boxsprings) are available in different heights, thus changing either of these components is usually the simplest solution.